Saturday, August 21, 2010

In the Blink of an Angel's Eye

The day began as a special treat for us.  It isn't often enough that I get to spend an entire afternoon, alone, with just one of my four Angel Daughters.  But Angel Daughter Number Three and I decided that Thursday would be our day.  We decided to head down south to Carlsbad to do some outlet shopping at a beautiful outdoor mall near the Flower Fields.  We were on our way back home, chatting about what we purchased, and boys(not you, Jacob;)) and what we would do for dinner when, mid-sentence, my insides began to sink.  The noise from outside was indistinct at first.  Kind of like when your tires get stuck in those grooves that they make on some roads or freeways, and then you bump along for a mile or so.  But suddenly the hair on the back of my neck began to stand up.  And my mind momentarily emptied out.  And my breath got caught up inside of my lungs.  A second of confusion before a moment of frightening clarity.  And then time sped up.

Tire bursts.  Check speedometer-70 mph in moderate traffic.  AD3 checks passenger side-view mirror.  Watches the rubber from the tire shred into large chunks which take flight and then bounce back down onto the freeway behind us.  I check my rear-view mirror as the vehicle begins to wildly take on a mind of its own while I clutch the steering wheel with all of my strength.  The metallic taste of fear rises into my mouth, but I swallow it back down.  We are in the center lane.  Check the rear-view mirror.  Three cars to the right without a safe opening between them.  Left lane, one vehicle in the fast lane about two car lengths behind us.  I choose left.  I lean on the horn so that if someone does not see me coming, they might at least hear me.  Car begins to sputter and fishtail all at the same time.  I say a silent prayer in hopes of making it into the left lane and then on to the very minimal shoulder that resides on the other side of the speeding cars.  Why is the steering wheel locking up on me?  I somehow manage to get the car over to the shoulder without getting us killed.  And then, oh crap, the breaks stop working.  I am thinking out loud.  I tell AD3 that I am going to use the emergency break and that she needs to hang on because I'm not quite sure what will happen.  I tap it once, the car jerks but does not stop.  I press hard and the car jolts to a stop.  I put the car in park and dial 911.  I let the dispatcher know what has happened, where we are located, and that we are in inherent danger because of where I had to stop.  We are between speeding vehicles and a solid concrete divider.  Very little room for error.  The dispatcher tells me that she is sending out an officer.  She tells me that we should remain in whatever spot feels safest and not to accept any help from passing motorists.  She connects me to AAA.(Automobile Association of America)  AAA tells me that the tow truck will arrive by 5:55 PM.  It is 5:20 PM.

"Mom, put the camera down.  This is not a moment for blog fodder!"  But I am doing my best to distract myself and my eighteen year old daughter from the thoughts of what just happened, and what could potentially still happen.  I call my husband.  She texts her boyfriend.  We watch for the officer.
Finally, in the distance, like a single-man cavalry rising on the horizon, I see the tow truck heading towards us.  He asks about the spare tire and I pop the trunk of my car open.  AD3 and I watch through the mirrors as Andy risks his own life to help us.  We feel the car rise as he jacks up our vehicle.  He quickly and methodically pulls off what is left of the shredded tire.
All the while keeping an eye out for the speeding traffic which is whizzing by us at a dangerously high speed.
And then we are back down on the ground again.  Spare tire in place.  Car miraculously safe to drive once again.  I take a twenty dollar bill out of my wallet and tuck it into the palm of my hand.  I shake Andy's hand to thank him for going what I believe to be above and beyond the realm of safety and pass the money into his hand.(Yes, I am very aware that AAA does not require tips.)  California Highway Patrol never did bother to show up.

And while Angel Daughter Number Three was right when she told me that this was not necessarily an appropriate time to be composing a blog post in my mind, what she did not yet understand is that it was a teachable moment.  Teachable for me, teachable for her and teachable for anyone else whom I might share this story with.  Because before this blow-out occurred, I had no way of knowing what would happen if... And what my daughters might learn from my own, actual behavior in this kind of life or death situation.

What I do know is this.

That even when my daughter looks like this on the outside...

*Photo found in Town&Country magazine.  September 2010 issue.(and no, I had no idea what I was going to use it for when I tore it out.)
To me, she will always still look like this in my mind.  Which means that every moment is a teachable moment.

Especially after AD3 turned to me soon after the blowout and said, "Mom, you handled that really, really well."

Which reminds me.  It is not always what we say, but what we do, how we respond, react and rebound, that teaches our children how things should best be done.  And as I recount this bit of life experience into some blog fodder, I am grateful that I was able to keep my little girl safe and oh, so sound.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Something about the light.  The shades and shapes.  The subtle melding of hues.  The way in which each   bird took its form against the background, reminded me as to how we each use our words to create a picture.  One word building upon another.  An idea clearing into focus.  A story which now exists where there once was none.

Watching the small flock of birds feeding outside of my window, I allowed my mind to wander into both dark and light.  Color and shade.  Stillness and movement.  And I began to consider the movement.  The rest. The fluttering of wings.  The fluttering of wings.
And I began to consider how just as the fluttering of wings can compel another bird into movement, the words of another can invoke more words and more words and more words.  With my story building upon yours and your story building upon mine until the ideas become fluid.  Rippling words concentrically building outwards until there are new meanings to be found.  Unique ideas.  Fresh stories being created in the quiver of an original word.

Each one of us has a hopping-off point.  A point at which something, or more importantly, someone, inspires us.  Moves us.  Motivates us.

We then land in the space where we are more able to nurture our own ideas.  We take sustenance from the words of others, and then when things are done correctly, we use those words to ignite our own notions.
It is a process that allows us to stretch our own wings.  Our own thoughts take shape and we are inspired to fly!  The words come and we compose our own unique flight-patterns.  All built upon the feeling that we get when we read something that inspires the soul out of its momentary rest.
And sometimes, the results are just breathtaking.  Our wings spread further and farther than even we ever imagined that they could.

Our hearts open wide.

And the beating of our wings, of our heart, take on another rhythm which also includes the rhythm of the words that came before.  From someplace else.  From someone else.  And an even richer story is launched into flight.
So I continue to read.  I read books, many, many books.  I read your blogs, filled with your words of life and hope.  Yesterdays and somedays.  Tomorrows and right nows.  I study my surroundings.  I take in all that I can.  I listen.  Talk radio happens to be one of my favorite mediums.  I fall asleep listening to words and ideas, and I continue listening even as I slumber.  The voices become part of my dreams.  I study color and shape and movement.  Not only the obvious, but the subtleties behind what is initially notable.  And my own wings begin to flutter with all of the possibilities.

This last picture caused me to think about how we share so much of who we are when we write things down.  And whether we share our words through publications, books or blogs, we never know exactly when something that we have said, will resonate with someone else, and so on, and so on, and so on.  Words, your words, can be just the flutter that might inspire someone else's flight.  Never underestimate the power in that.

Flutter on.

Friday, August 13, 2010


*August 13, 2010-After writing this post, the other day, I leafed through the mail which was sitting on the counter in our kitchen.  Bills, junk-mail, an ad for a carpet cleaner, a small white package addressed to me in human handwriting.  I opened up the package and found the small, hand-needlepointed treasure which is pictured below.  It was made by a dear friend from Minnesota whom I have known for several years.  Like me, she suffers from CFS/Fibromyalgia/mystery illness and yet, she always cares SO much.  When I saw that it was a Hummingbird, I looked up toward the skies and smiled.  I smiled because sometimes, the messages that we need the most can show up in the form of a hand-needlepointed Hummingbird from a faraway friend.  And along with those messages, can come the whispers of angels telling us that we are not quite alone as we might feel.  Thank you, sweet Kar.  

And thank you to all of my wonderful blogging friends who always leave me notes that remind me of the very same thing:)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010-While in flight, the Hummingbird's heart rate can reach up to 1260 beats per minute.  Yet there are times, when the Hummingbird must slow itself down, that it has the capacity to lower its own heartbeat from 50-180 beats per minute.  It's tiny body understands the necessity to decelerate.  To rest.  To renew.  To restore.

I am experiencing a shift in my souls own need to bring it down a level.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is a nagging at the center of my being which is causing me to try to slow it down.  To back away.  To give myself some space.  My heart has worked so incredibly hard over the past several years to remain intact.  To decelerate from the excess, nonsensical stress that has been thrust upon it.  And even at rest, my heart often feels overworked.  Over-taxed.  Fragile.

So like the Hummingbird, who instinctively adheres to its bodies natural need for rejuvenation,  I must somehow find mine again.

A beautiful hand-stitched gift from a kind-hearted friend.
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